Luis Garcia reckons he was one of a privileged few to witness the birth of Peter Crouch’s infamous robot celebration.
When the beanpole striker was called up by England for the 2006 World Cup, he became a national hero after doing the jig after scoring against Trinidad & Tobago.
But that was far from the first time the dance move had come out – as Garcia has recalled seeing it for the very first time after a team-bonding dinner organised by captain Steven Gerrard.
“I remember once he [Gerrard] decided we were all going to go for dinner, all together with the families and everything,” Garcia told the Liquid Football podcast, which is produced by JOE in partnership with Paddy Power.
“He didn’t have to do it, but he wanted to get the team closer. I think we had 15 or 16 different nationalities, so you can imagine the different foods, cultures and languages.
“He just wanted to bring us all together. I can’t remember [what we ate] but it was something English like roast beef.
We had a good time and I think it was the first time Crouchy did the robot!
Garcia says nights out like that was what made Gerrard such an inspirational skipper.
Together they won the Champions League in 2005 thanks largely to his all-conquering performance in the come-from-behind win in the final against AC Milan.
“Steve was the prototype for a leader, a captain,” Garcia added. “It was easy for him because on the pitch he would show every single day it doesn’t matter if things are going well or badly, he was always there.
“He wasn’t the sort of payer who would be talking all the time, but he would come to you [individually].
“He knew when I arrived that my injury wasn’t very good, but he came to me a couple of times and would ask me how I was feeling, even asking how my family was and that was very important for players who come from a different country.”
The former attacker is also backing Rangers boss Gerrard to transform his legendary status as a player to the managerial dugout.
“He has that closeness to the players like when he was a captain for the team,” he said. “He’ll know when to talk to the players and when he needs to shout.”